Scott Ford

Born in Denver

Scott Ford 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council is 1 vote shy of adding parking meters downtown

Rhys - The idea of a reverse parking meter is an interesting one. I have not heard it before and it is an example of truly out of the box thinking and I would expect nothing less of you. Personally I do not what to see anytime soon parking meters reverse or otherwise. Even if reverse parking meters were possible it would be way too easy to reverse the reverse meter to a traditional pay as you go parking meter. Unless something of interest to others emerges I believe you and I are beginning to have a, albeit personally interesting, an exchange others may not find thought-provoking. I will leave this blog discussion on this topic with this - "Never attribute to duplicity or malice that which can be attributed to stupidity.” (Although I am a current member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by other council members.)

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Scott Ford 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council is 1 vote shy of adding parking meters downtown

Hi Rhys – I do not think there are any more details to investigate regarding the genesis of the parking study. Fault finding in this situation is only useful to a point and in my opinion we have likely reached that point. However, there is always room for improvement in the process.

The $54K spent on the parking study in my opinion was a mistake, however, it was not an out-of-budget mistake. I am hopeful that this is an opportunity to learn and steps can be taken to insure better communication between council and staff. If we do not make an effort to learn from mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. This is true on a personal as well as organizational level. (Although I am a current member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by other council members.)

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Scott Ford 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council is 1 vote shy of adding parking meters downtown

Good Morning Steve -

Thanks for the correction about the focus of the ULI report and the year. Between Scott W, Stuart, you and me when we put on our collective thinking caps we are pretty good at putting the pieces of a “What Happened & Why” puzzle together.

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Scott Ford 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council is 1 vote shy of adding parking meters downtown

Good Morning Ben & All –

Great question, “Who authorized this parking study?” Let me see if I can put the recent “parking study” into context with what I can best characterize as logical speculation. The “parking study” likely had its beginnings following a “visit” from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in the summer/fall of 2013(?). Mainstreet Steamboat had received a grant to bring these folks to town and do an analysis of the downtown area.

When the ULI report was presented completed one of the report recommendations was that an analysis of the downtown parking situation should be done. The last formal downtown parking analysis had been done in 1999 and the feeling was that a lot of things had changed downtown. This suggestion along with a lot of others about infrastructure improvements and making downtown more pedestrian friendly were in the report. My guess is City Council said, “Hey, there are a lot of good ideas in this report we ought to explore and think about.” Although I have not reviewed the City Council minutes from this time period(?), this or a similar statement was as likely as specific as City Council made.

Likely acting on a perceived general direction of City Council staff started to look into the issue of downtown parking. Although the City has some very talented staff, it was likely felt that it did not possess the necessary skills to do a downtown parking analysis. Thus a parking study is initiated.

This parking study was likely going to be paid for out of the City Manager’s “contingency budget” or perhaps out of the downtown parking fund that was established with the payment in-lieu of program. Since it was not a supplemental budget request, it did not need to come back before City Council for approval. Let’s just say sometime during the fall of last year the City Manager instructed the Director of Public Works to bid for and negotiate a contract for a downtown parking study. After I am sure some back-n-forth about the scope of work and costs – Desman & Associates were eventually selected for $54,000 .

(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by other council members.)

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Scott Ford 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council is 1 vote shy of adding parking meters downtown

Hi Ken – Very well said!
From my perspective last night we had the “final” parking study report done by a consultant that clearly indicated that his firm’s bias is meters.
How we got to last night is mind boggling. We need to keep in mind that: 1) this was a study as council we do not remember asking for, 2) council questioned the need for, 3) council was surprised that it was going to cost $54,000, and 4) council was “dumbstruck” that the contract with the consultant had already been signed and payment issued. (See the video from the June 3rd City Council meeting.)

Now that we have a “study” done by a renowned “Parking Consultant” there is a momentum to actually do something with it. Council by asking staff to do some more “financial analysis” on parking meter options for downtown credence is giving that this is a good idea and the momentum builds. Add in that parking meter revenues (tax) could be used to finance a parking structure and yet more energy is added to the momentum that already exist. (Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by other council members.)

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Scott Ford 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council is 1 vote shy of adding parking meters downtown

Scott B –

The current community development code for Steamboat Springs has what you reference. When a new or change of use occurs with a building downtown there is a parking requirement based on the type of use and the square footage. In downtown for example, a restaurant would be 1 parking space for every 150 net square feet. Retail 1 parking space for every net 900 square feet of floor space. The developer of the property has the option of doing a one-time payment. Right now that one-time payment is $25,000 for each required parking space.
(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by other council members.)

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Scott Ford 1 month, 3 weeks ago on Steamboat City Council to consider downtown parking meter proposal Tuesday

Thanks Scott Franz for doing this historical research.
“History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” – Mark Twain (Although I am a current member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not reflect those of other Council members.)

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Scott Ford 2 months ago on Steamboat City Council narrowly rejects proposal to restore $264,000 worth of pay raises for city employees

Good Morning Scott W – I believe several attempts to do local labor market assessments have been tried. The typical weakness of a local labor market comparable compensation study is who conducts the assessment and the scope of who and what is assessed. At the local level there is not the expertise to creditably cross reference job duties to job descriptions and compensation. Nor is there the expertise to assign a value to the benefits both tangible and intangible. Yampa Valley Data Partners dipped its toe into this water once when it did a “living wage” study. (Never again!) Although I am not typically a big fan of “studies” the $35,000 which will be paid to Mountain States Employer Council will be money well spent – when contrasted to the City’s $18 million annual employee compensation package. You bring up a very good point. For a number of job task within the City there does not seem to be a lack of local applicants for the job openings that occur. I think this is a very good thing because it allows the opportunity to select the most qualified candidate for the job. Simply put, the City does not have the challenge of sorting through a lot of “broken toys” to the same degree some local employers have. As you point out there are challenges associated with some positions such as seasonal bus drivers and funds have been allocated to help address this situation, however, it remains a challenge. For the 260 employees the employee turnover within the City is very similar to the turn-over rate seen for similar industry sectors. (Administrative Services, Professional & Technical and Finance. Etc.) That turnover rate is about 15%. In studies done from consulting firms which are paid really big bucks – the pay differential between position needs to be about 20% or more for the primary reason to be “pay” as the reason why an individual leaves a job. Although “pay” is often the stated as the reason – it is often really family situation, moving, working conditions and opportunity for advancement. “Pay” typically is pretty far down the list as the primary reason. The current City pay system is flawed because of the lack of a creditable “local labor market” comparison. Although relatively easy to do comparing City of Steamboat Springs pay structure to that of City of Durango or City of Glenwood Springs results in distortions that may or may not reflect the realities of the local labor market. The drive to have the salary structure for a majority of the jobs based on local labor market conditions is the way to go. This is going to be a big change. It is not going to be easy and it will take time to phase in. I will be paying close attention to this. Personally I am tired of guessing when we do not need to!! (Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by my fellow council members.)

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Scott Ford 2 months ago on Steamboat City Council narrowly rejects proposal to restore $264,000 worth of pay raises for city employees

Rhys – From my perspective we have a pretty good City Council so I would not vote them OUT. I have a great deal of respect for each of them. We do not always agree – and I view that is a good thing. Each of us have our issues that we are passionate about. Although it may appear we do not agree on a lot of things this a council of 7 that cares deeply about this place. One of the challenges I personally have s not to allow what I am personally passionate about get in the way of representing the 12,000+ folks that live in the City. This is easier said than done. I do my best to listen carefully, learn what I need to learn and to be reasonably accessible to whoever wants to speak with me. I have a couple of “coffee groups” I typically sit with a few times during the week that freely share with me what they think. It is surprising how often we do not agree but we get along. I enjoy the exchange that takes place.
My guiding philosophy while I am on Council in rank order are: Focus first and formost on what makes this a great place to live. (Great places to live are typically wonderful places to visit.) I do not chase sales tax dollars. I understand the importance of sales tax to the City, however, to do something simply because it generates sales tax can lead to all sorts of silly things. To the degree possible I will insist that we measure. Simply put, one measures what they want to improve.

I put this offer out there to anyone who reads/post on this “blog”. Feel free to ask me why I voted for or against something and if we did not agree why you think I was wrong. I learn through these types of exchanges and find them valuable. I have a good friend that recently told me that if I am not catching “flack” I am not close to the target. (Although I am a current member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by my fellow council members.)

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